Gov. Reynolds signs proclamation for in-person school re-openings

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds speaks at Van Meter High School on Friday, July 17 as part of a news conference announcing her pending proclamation directing all schools in Iowa to re-open with in-person instruction later this summer. (Livestream screenshot from Governor Kim Reynolds page on Facebook)
Jake Ryder
Eclipse News-Review

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued a proclamation Friday directing all Iowa schools to start the school year with in-person learning.

Schools will have avenues to provide remote learning after the start of the school year, including parental consent for selecting a remote learning opportunity offered by a school in its "Return to Learn" Plan.

"But the best interests of students and families requires that our schools are prepared to provide a structured, safe, and enriching academic environment," the proclamation states.

In addition to parental consent for their child to use a remote learning option, schools will be able to utilize remote learning if school building or district closures are approved by the Iowa Department of Education, or if schools need to offer temporary remote learning because of inclement weather or for specific groups of students or classrooms based on public health conditions.

However, Reynolds referenced Iowa law in a Friday press conference that requires at least half of a school district or accredited nonpublic school's instruction be provided in-person during any two-week period.

The proclamation also lifts restrictions on substitute teachers, paraeducators and technical instructors, which will help expand the number of teachers available for the upcoming school year.

Reynolds ordered all schools in Iowa to close for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year on April 17.

"Although the decisions about closing and staying closed for the remainder of the school year were difficult to make, they were data-driven and focused on the best interest of Iowa students, families and schools," Reynolds said in Friday's press conference. "And that's the same approach that we're taking to reopening our schools."

The average number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 has steadily increased since the start of the month, with 210 currently hospitalized and 70 in the intensive care units across the state as of Friday morning. However, many hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators remain available.

One out of every eight Butler County residents (12.5 percent) have been tested for COVID-19, with 78 total positive cases. Of those positive cases, 59 have been marked as recovered.


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